Historian and writer, Deborah Challinor, honoured as a Distinguished Alumna

Dr Deborah Challinor is an historian and writer, perhaps best known for her historical fiction. Her novels have been translated into many languages and sell all over the world. All of Deborah’s 15 novels have appeared in the top five of the New Zealand fiction bestseller list, with seven of them reaching number one.

Deborah also writes non-fiction. In 1995 she won a New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association Military History Scholarship, and in 1997 she received a New Zealand History Research Trust Fund Award and funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board for the first edition of her non-fiction book Grey Ghosts. Grey Ghosts was based on her Waikato doctoral research about New Zealand soldiers and the Vietnam War, and was followed by Who'll Stop the Rain? a book about the effects of Agent Orange on the children of New Zealand's Vietnam veterans.

Deborah was born in Huntly. Before taking up writing full-time, she worked at the Waikato Times as their librarian and ended up writing a regular column and feature articles for the paper. She also taught several University of Waikato summer school papers on researching and writing historical fiction. Deborah then left the Waikato for four years to live in New South Wales so that she could research and write her Convict Girls series.

Now she is back in the Waikato and continues to write full-time, always basing her novels on real historical events, deeply researched and widely praised for their characterisation, detail and accuracy.

For her success as an author and her contributions to telling the stories of New Zealanders affected by war, Deborah Challinor is a worthy recipient of a University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Award.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The University of Waikato's Distinguished Alumni Awards were held on Friday 31 March 2017 on the Hamilton campus.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour University of Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities, taking into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors.